Pro-Life Groups Demand Law Stopping Abortion Funding in Health Care Plan
by Steven Ertelt
July 16, 2010
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — After a dustup this week that saw the Obama administration authorize abortion funding in high risk insurance pools in at least two states, and then subsequently backtrack and promise no funding would occur, pro-life advocates are demanding a new law to ensure that doesn’t happen.
After National Right to Life exposed new federally-funded health insurance plans that would have covered elective abortions in Pennsylvania and New Mexico, the Department of Health and Human Services promised the Obama administration would ensure no funding takes place.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, the head of the pro-life outreach for the nation’s Catholic bishops, said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com that he welcomes the statement averting what he calls an alarming precedent."
But DiNardo doesn’t just take President Barack Obama at his word, he is calling for permanent law to exclude abortion from all programs under the new health care law Obama signed.
We welcome this new policy, the Cardinal said, while continuing to be gravely concerned that it was not issued until after some states had announced that pro-abortion health plans were approved and had begun to enroll patients.
This situation illustrates once again the need for Congress to enact legislation clearly stating once and for all that funds appropriated by [the health care bill] will not pay for abortions or for insurance coverage that includes abortion, he continued.
The Catholic official complained that it took the discovery of the abortion funding by a pro-life group and outrage about it to prompt the Obama administration to potentially back down from authorizing it.
The issue of government involvement in the taking of innocent human life should not remain subject to the changeable discretion of executive officials or depend on the continued vigilance of pro-life advocates," he said.
It is vitally important for people with serious medical conditions who have been unable to obtain coverage to receive the help offered by programs such as this and for them to be assured that their coverage will be life-affirming, not life-threatening, he said.
Brad Mattes, the director of the Life Issues Institute, is also calling for Congress to hold the Obama administration accountable for not funding abortions in the new health care program.
"Despite presidential assurances this would never happen, the federal government is giving Pennsylvania $160 million to provide healthcare including abortions for residents in a high-risk insurance pool," Mattes told LifeNews.com. "This comes just months after President Obama signed an executive order ‘promising’ not to spend your money on elective abortions. So much for that."
"Now that they’ve been caught in a lie, the administration is jumping to defend their actions. But its too little, too late. They’ve already demonstrated they had no intention of keeping that phony promise," Mattes complained.
Because of the lack of a federal law ensuring no abortion funding in the health care program, Mattes says state officials are able to offer nonsensical excuses for the abortion funding they’re promoting.
"Officials are also skirting around the issue by saying the policies have to comply with federal rules, implying there is something stopping them from using tax dollars for these abortions. But there isn’t. Nothing in the new healthcare law says federal money can’t pay for abortions," he said. "Obama and his pro-abortion cohorts in Congress wouldn’t allow that to be a part of the legislation, and now we know why."
Mattes says the Hyde Amendment would have helped stop the abortion funding mess had Congress allowed it to be applied to the new health care program.
"The one law the famous Hyde Amendment that does keep federal money from subsidizing abortions only applies to one area: the annual Health and Human Services appropriations bill. The high-risk healthcare plans like those in New Mexico and Pennsylvania are not part of that budget," he explained.
"Now that the word is spreading, administrators are beginning to back down. Unfortunately, the Obama administration continues to aggressively sneak behind our backs," he concluded.
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